How to Pick the Right Dental Hygiene School near Millbrook Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Millbrook AL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, for instance the school's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Millbrook AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Millbrook AL dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are offered in trade and technical schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist school may be a viable alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Millbrook AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the ideal option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Millbrook AL, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options also. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Millbrook AL dental practices frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Millbrook AL dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the Millbrook AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Millbrook AL dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Ask the schools you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Millbrook AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Millbrook AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Millbrook AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Millbrook Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Millbrook Alabama.